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Pregnancy

The time period between the conception and delivery of a baby is known as pregnancy. During this period, the fertilized ovum which is a ball of cells during conception, undergoes a series of developmental changes and becomes a fully developed human in the mother’s womb. Pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks which is divided into 3 trimesters (First trimester-1 to 3 months, second trimester- 4 to 6 months, third trimester- 7-9 months). Each trimester is characterized by a noticeable set of bodily changes in the mother as well.

First Trimester (1 to 3 months): This is the most critical period for your baby’s development. By the end of the first trimester, your baby is almost fully formed. It has arms, hands, fingers, knees, feet, toes and mouth. During this period, you might experience symptoms such as morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), sore breasts, fatigue, food cravings and aversions, constipation, frequent urination, and weight gain.

Second trimester-(4 to 6 months): Your baby would grow at a rapid rate in this trimester. By the end of 4th month, your baby would be able to hear your sound and she would also be able to open her eyes. In this period, fine hair and a white waxy substance develop on the skin and serves as a protective sheath to the baby. Fingerprints and footprints are also well established. In this trimester you would start feeling the baby kicks around the 5th month. Other symptoms that you might notice during this period are- backache, changes in skin and hair, hemorrhoids, bleeding gums, congestion and nosebleeds, frequent urination, and varicose veins.

Third trimester (7-9 months): By the 7th month, your baby’s hearing is well developed, its lungs starts developing and it responds to stimuli such as light, pain and sound. Most of the organ systems start functioning normally by the 8th month. By the 9th month, the baby’s reflexes are well coordinated and the lungs are fully developed. The baby also descends down in order to prepare for delivery. The symptoms that you may notice in this trimester include- False labor pains, pain in the lower abdomen, backache, ankle swelling, breathing difficulty, breast enlargement, frequent urination and varicose veins. False labor pains are irregular, weak, do not increase in intensity with time, may stop or slow down with changes in movement and position of the body and is felt in the front of the lower abdomen. On the other hand, true labor pain come at regular intervals, strength of contraction goes on increasing with time, is not affected by change in position or movement, felt at the back first and then moves towards the front of the abdomen.

Tests during pregnancy

During pregnancy, you should visit a doctor for regular health check-ups to monitor your health and the health of the developing fetus. The following tests are routinely done during pregnancy:

Blood tests

  1. HCG levels: The levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) in the blood are analyzed to confirm pregnancy. The blood HCG level above 25 mIU/ml confirms pregnancy.
  2. Blood grouping and Rh factor: Your blood group and Rh factor is determined during pregnancy to check for maternofetal Rh incompatibility. Rh incompatibility occurs when a Rh+ve mother has a Rh-ve fetus. This condition causes destruction of red blood cells in the fetus.
  • Complete blood picture (CBC): Your doctor would recommend for a complete blood picture (CBC) test to observe the levels of blood components (RBCs, WBCs & platelets). Low levels of white blood cells indicate infection. Hemoglobin levels and red blood cell levels are regularly checked throughout pregnancy to detect anemia.
  1. Maternal Marker screening: These are a series of tests done in the second trimester to evaluate a woman’s risk of carrying a baby with chromosomal anomalies. It includes- double marker test, triple marker tests and quadruple marker test. These tests are helpful in detecting genetic defects such as Down’s syndrome and neural tube defect such as spina bifida in the fetus.
  2. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test: Pregnancy stresses the thyroid gland. During pregnancy there is may be a disproportionate increase or decrease in TSH levels due to abnormal thyroid functioning.
  3. Glucose tolerance test: Glucose tolerance test is performed to confirm gestational diabetes. This is done between 6th month of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes leads to macrosomia or increased size of the fetus.
  • Tests for sexually transmitted diseases: Blood sample analysis can detect sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis. Such infections may increase your risk of miscarriage and preterm births.

Urine tests

During pregnancy, the levels of proteins, sugars, ketone bodies and bacteria are assessed in your urine sample.

  1. Urine glucose levels: High levels of glucose in urine indicate gestational diabetes. Pregnancy hormone (hCG) can decrease the insulin production, which may lead to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes may have detrimental effects on the health of the fetus.
  2. Assessment of protein: Presence of protein in the urine sample, when accompanied with high blood pressure, indicates of preeclampsia. If this is left untreated, it can cause growth retardation in the developing fetus.
  • Urine culture: The presence of bacteria in your urine sample indicates urinary tract infection. The doctor would recommend a urine culture to determine the causative organism and prescribe appropriate antibiotic treatment

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to create images of the growing fetus. Ultrasound monitoring helps your doctor to identify the baby’s position and movements. Before taking an ultrasound image, your doctor would ask you to drink plenty of water to obtain a clear image of the fetus. The ultrasound scan during the pregnancy is prescribed to assess the following:

  • To verify the due date
  • To detect ectopic pregnancy
  • To check for multiple gestation
  • To detect your baby’s heartbeat
  • To assess the risk of genetic disorders
  • To examine the growth and organ development of the fetus
  • To assess the levels of amniotic fluid
  • To identify pregnancy complications such as placenta previa

 

 

Dos and don’ts for a healthy pregnancy

 Healthy diet: Food rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber is a must for healthy development of the baby and relieving pregnancy symptoms. Focus on eating small frequent meals which keeps you energetic the entire day rather than a heavy meal.

  1. Fluid intake: Drink adequate amounts of water and fluids to stay hydrated. This helps in maintaining amniotic fluid levels and also prevents constipation.
  2. Improve sleep pattern: Sufficient sleep can help you to adjust to the physical and hormonal changes related to pregnancy.
  3. Exercise regularly: Walking, yoga and doing mild to moderate intensity exercises regularly help you to maintain your general health and reduce stress.
  4. Quit smoking: Nicotine which is a by-product of cigarette smoke has deleterious health effects in the fetus.
  5. Avoid caffeine: Drinking excess coffee and caffeinated drinks can cause heartburn and anxiety to the mother.
  6. Avoid alcohol: Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects and abnormal fetal growth.
  7. Avoid lifting heavy weights: Lifting heavy weights during pregnancy can cause joint injuries in the mother.
  8. Avoid uncomfortable clothing: Tight and uncomfortable clothing may increase breathing difficulty and swelling in the extremities.

 

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.

References

  1. Pregnancy (Pregnancy: An overview). http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/ResourceCentres/PregnancyBabies/Pregnancy/Pages/default.aspx.  Accessed on 07-10-2017
  2. Changes in your body during pregnancy: first trimester. https://familydoctor.org/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-first-trimester/.  Accessed on 07-10-2017
  3. Changes in your body during pregnancy: third trimester. https://familydoctor.org/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-third-trimester/ . Accessed on 07-10-2017
  4. Blood tests during pregnancy. http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/blood-tests-during-pregnancy.  Accessed on 07-10-2017
  5. Urine tests during pregnancy. https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/pregnancy-33/pregnancy-news-543/urine-tests-during-pregnancy-643994.html . Accessed on 07-10-2017
  6. 10 tips for a healthy pregnancy. http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/nutrition/healthy-pregnancy-tips/.  Accessed on 07-10-2017


Patient Testimonials

“Finding the best place for a diagnostic test is as important as consulting the best doctor. The Apollo name was what guided me to Apollo Diagnostics and I am indeed glad that I came here. From attending us on time to sample collection, everything flowed so smoothly. I was particularly impressed by the hygiene. It was definitely a value for money experience. Thanks a lot Apollo Diagnostics…keep up the good work!”

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“I Have heard a lot of good things about Apollo Diagnostics from our family physician as well as from relatives and friends. So then next time I needed a diagnostic centre, I visited Apollo Diagnostics and I was really glad I did. For one, I didn’t have to wait. The technician was extremely good, and the place was really clean. It was certainly a value for money experience. Great job Apollo Diagnostics!”

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“I have always had a great experience with Apollo Diagnostics. The calls are unfailingly answered. The scheduled appointment is kept to the minute. The phlebotomist is well-trained in both technique and putting the patient at ease. Apollo Diagnostics undoubtedly delivers value for money. They will always be my top option for all the diagnostic needs of my family.”

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“I came to know about Apollo Diagnostics from my relatives and friends. So, when I required a check up to be done, I thought about trying their service once. From sticking to the appointed time to accuracy of technique, it was really a great experience overall. Hygiene of the technician and the centre as well, was also quite admirable. I certainly felt it delivers value for money service. From now on, I’ll always visit Apollo Diagnostics for all my checkups.”

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Ms. A.Madhavi, Warangal

“Our family physician strictly instructed me to get the checkup done at Apollo Diagnostics. I am glad I respected his opinion. I was attended to as soon as I went in. The technician was a true expert at his job and made it a painless experience for me. I also observed that the centre was spotless and all the staff members were particular about maintaining hygiene. Apollo Diagnostics certainly delivers value for money. I’ll always recommend Apollo Diagnostics to my family and friends.”

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“My Apollo Diagnostics experience has thus far been truly amazing. Besides unfailingly maintaining the schedule – be it sample taking or report delivery, their sense of cleanliness is also tops. The technicians are well-trained and do their job with diligence and in a friendly manner that puts patients at ease at once. Apollo Diagnostics is setting a very high standard indeed! Now that’s what I call a fine job!”

Ms. G. Jyothi, Warangal

“My mother needed a blood test, but was unable to walk due to pain in her leg. A Phlebotomist from Apollo Diagnostics came home and collected the sample. I was informed, via SMS, that the report could be collected from any of the 3 centres in Dibrugarh, downloaded online or even delivered home for a nominal fee. Although the rates were reasonable, my mother also received a senior citizens discount too! This saved my time, money & energy. My aachhe din really seemed to have arrived! Thank you Apollo Diagnostics and hats off for displaying true professionalism.”

Mr. Alokk Kar Dowerah, Dibrugarh

“Whenever I need to have a blood sample collected from home, I ask for Vasu. He is punctual, courteous and so skilled I hardly feel any pain when he draws the sample. Plus, I truly appreciate how quickly the reports are delivered. Thanks Apollo!”

Mr. Sukumar, Film director, Sriram Nagar, Hyderabad